Three Vacation Rental Properties Crushing It in Branding

and what you can learn from them




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June 26, 2017
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Every once in a while, I run across a short-term rental that radiates professionalism.

Not only do they have the interior design and customer service down, but they’re doing a little extra ‘something’ that makes you trust them.

They’ve got ‘that thing.’

A certain professionalism.

They have branded their property in such a way that they rise handily above their competition and sit on par with the best hotels in the world.

Let’s face it: when we book at the Four Seasons, we know we are in for a top-drawer experience – heavenly mattress, beautiful decor, fluffy white towels, and impeccable room service; when we book a vacation rental, on the other hand, we cannot absolutely count on the same. Even if the reviews and interior design are stellar, we know we’re still taking a risk.


Wherever they may be, a Four Seasons hotel is always chic and supremely fantastic. Four Seasons Milan

It’s a small risk, but still a risk.

So how do you make your Airbnb or vacation rental seem less risky and more trustworthy? Or in short, more professional?

You have to understand how to brand yourself.


Vacation rental branding always incorporates four key elements.

  1. Seamless, cohesive interior design.
  2. A well-designed website that clearly conveys who you are and how much you care about your guests.
  3. A logo
  4. Media exposure

Let’s take a look at three short-term rentals killing it in all four departments. These vacation rentals are crushing it in professionalism; in fact, they are on par with the best boutique hotels in the world.

Let’s do some dissecting and learn a thing or two….

House la France

I discovered House la France via Remodelista, my go-to interior design blog. This is the first thing in House la France’s favor by the way – publicity. If you get featured in a design blog or paper publication, your reputation takes a huge leap forward.

But I’m putting the chicken before the egg, so let’s start out with the things House la France did in order to get such publicity.

House la France’s motto is ‘Simplicity, Elegance and Calm,’ and they endeavored and succeeded at creating that feeling in their brand. The website, logo and interior design all blend seamlessly together to shout out the motto.

The logo is crisp, elegant yet casual; its message is literal, so everyone understands; there are no misunderstandings about what this house is about.

house la france logo

The casual cursive logo puts you instantly at ease.

Both the interiors and exteriors were furnished with this motto in mind – simple furnishings with elegant lines juxtaposed against a neutral color palette.

Merely looking at these relaxing spaces makes me feel like I’ve just finished 60 minutes of yoga. Without the yoga part.


how to furnish a Airbnb patio

The courtyard is furnished as an outdoor room, a concept critical to vacationers coming in the hot high summer season.

how to furnish an Airbnb

Antique furniture contrasts nicely with white-washed stone and white painted walls. The effect is instantly relaxing.

The bedrooms are furnished with antique beds and simple white bedding.

vacation rental furniture

There is an overall absence of clutter in House la France’s interiors, just good antique furniture, and white walls –  simplicity at its best.

The website is fabulously easy to navigate and reflects the aesthetics of the interiors. The graphics successfully incorporate the psychological messaging – simplicity, elegance, calm – as well as the interior design of the house.

house la france airbnb

House la France’s website and gorgeous logo give them an air of professionalism right off the bat.

Everything House la France conceived – website, logo, and interior design – seamlessly went into its brand. People can wrap their head around what’s in store for them. It all looks like it goes together. No wonder there’s some publicity aflutter!

Indulgence Divine

Indulgence Divine, a 16th century restored vacation townhouse in Vittoriosa, Malta, is one of those holiday rentals that makes you think of excuses to go to Malta, even if you’ve never heard of it. Art director and producer, Gattaldo, has masterfully conceived a perfect 10 in vacation rental branding.

The design concept is probably the most unique I’ve ever encountered. Homeworks 53 describes it as ‘Alice in Wonderland meets Vittoriosa,’ and I would agree. The interior design, logo, and website all infer, “Indulge, let your free-spirit out!”

The deeply hued colors of the website instantly wake up the senses. The graphics and interior design are holistically paired.

The hot pink logo emanates ‘Indulge,’ and at the same time, the crosses are a salute to Vittoriosa’s medieval past.

malta vacation rental

Jewel colors flourish against ancient stone walls in Indulgence Divine’s townhouse.

airbnb closet

Nearly all furniture in Indulgence Divine is bespoke, including that fanciful doorless closet with the turquoise wallpaper inside.

airbnb bedroom decoration

“Once the private chapel of the house, a stone arch frames the inner sanctum of the romantic double bedroom. An antique Indian batik scene hangs just to the side of the Art Nouveau bed which is dressed in fine linen. A bed canopy features a well-known Hieronymus Bosch fantasy scene,” says the bedroom description.

The kitchen’s red glass backsplash combined with the Designers Guild fabric curtain is sensuously enticing.

Because of the smashing success of both the interior design and the fabulous website, Indulgence Divine has garnered quite a lot of media attention. The Observer, GG, Homeworks 53, Lonely Planet, Flair, Irish Independent, and Luxury Magazine, to name a few have all featured the townhouse in their pages. In fact, there is a ‘Press’ tab on the website listing them all, a brilliant idea for marketing in and of itself.

Farmhouse Oasis

I discovered Farmhouse Oasis recently while browsing Instagram. The bright white walls combined with the bleached oak floors and crisp clean furniture caught my eye instantly. Apparently, I’m not the only one. Looking at the Instagram comments, many vendors, such as West Elm, are already re-gramming this chic Sonoma cottage.

Yes, re-gramming counts for media exposure, folks (read this post on how to master vacation rental Instagram marketing)!

Their Instagram page features a link to their website – nice!! – which is superbly designed.

1 chic retreat features Farmhouse Oasis

The black lettering set against the white walls of the cottage are intensely eye-catching and capture the current aesthetic zeitgeist of Millenial sensibilities.

Luxury, luxury, and more luxury. That’s what owners Trinette and Chris are going for in their beautiful Sonoma cottage. The two are professional commercial photographers and have traveled the world extensively, staying in some of the world’s finest hotels and resorts. They sought to translate the same hotel-like luxurious experience into Farmhouse Oasis.

And they are succeeding. In spades.

farmhouse oasis on 1 chic retreat

The upstairs bedroom has a dedicated sitting area for lounging and enjoying the view outside.

Their ‘About’ page states,

Trinette and Chris are passionate about design and architecture and have high standards when it comes to accommodations. They care about the details and truly value customer service. Their goal was to create a boutique hotel experience in their vacation rental. They are always striving to continue to improve their vacation rental and enhance their guest’s experience. They live in the house next door with their rescue Greyhound and two Chihuahuas and are available to assist as needed to make your stay more enjoyable. 

vacation rental interior design

The cozy dining nook consists of a bench and two chairs. The best part though is the view out to the pool.

vacation rental bedroom furnishings

The bedroom features a certified organic latex mattress from Lifekind, white Belgian Linen sheets and organic cotton gauze blanket from Eileen Fisher. The nightstands and wood bench are from West Elm and that fabulous fan is from Fanimation.

airbnb branding

“We are now accepting reservations! We hope to see you soon at The Farmhouse Oasis,” says their Instagram page. The horse artwork is by Trinette and Chris. CB2 Xbase pillows sit on a Carly sleeper sofa and ottoman (in beach white) from Wayfair.

It’s obvious that Chris and Trinette have taken their fine arts and commercial photography background and poured it into their branding. They have literally thought of everything! Not only have they mastered chic interiors and exteriors, but they have the little things down as well.

Like spa amenities….

vacation rental amenities

Spa quality bath salts, shampoo, and conditioner along with chicly rolled wash clothes sit in a bathroom niche.

And a hammocked, Tiki bar (wow!!!)…

vacation rental hammock

Owners Trinette and Chris know that hammocks in vacation rentals act as booking magnets. They have combined it into a Tiki room setup that’s the bomb!

And business cards with their killer logo…

vacation rental business cards

A set of business cards is a great marketing strategy.

And a custom owner’s manual….

vacation rental branding

Not many owners make such a special effort for an owner’s manual. What an ingenious way to incentivize your guests to actually read your house instructions, right?

Trinette and Chris are professional owners – they know what they’re doing. At this exact moment in time, they don’t yet have media exposure, but I predict within the next 6 months, we’ll see them in some publications.

Just wait.

Your turn

Are you doing all of the above? If so, awesome! Please share your wonderful abode in the comments section below.

If not, now is the time to seize the day. The vacation rental business is only getting more competitive, not less. Gone are the days of listing your property on a big listing site and sitting back.

Be proactive. Be professional. You CAN compete with those chic boutique hotels, you just need to brand for it.

And those same folks who might have chosen the Four Seasons? Once they see your presence, they might very well choose you. After all, you offer way more square footage and privacy. It’s kind of an obvious choice.

  • Jess Ashworth

    LOVE this post, Mercedes – these are such great examples! These owners have really thought of everything when it comes to branding. Especially in love with Farmhouse Oasis’ interiors and overall feel. What a find!

  • Ann Cummings

    Where are the rates noted on the Sonoma property?
    I love your blog!

  • Annette Marron Holbrook

    Such a great post, makes me excited about our soon to be rental.
    You state that hammocks are sought after. In my cabin I have a screened porch overlooking the river. My plan was to put a swing bed out there, but the one I really want is over $1000. Should I try a hammock in the meantime?

    • Yes, I think hammocks are great in screened porches if you have the room, especially if you have a river outside. Sounds dreamy! Thanks for commenting, Annette!

  • These are really inspirational Mercedes, thanks once again for sharing. For Istanbul Place Apartments we’re doing OK on some of these things but are definitely still need a great logo, or any logo at all in fact. I keep procrastinating on it, reluctant to let anyone else ‘translate’ us. We do have a press page though, if you can find it!

    • I do see your press page but you might consider putting it above so people can see all your media buzz (because you have quite a lot!). You can find good logo people on Etsy or even Fivrr. You have such beautiful apartments and you are doing a great job on Instagram too. I don’t think it would take much to elevate yourself to the rentals above. Thanks for commenting, Julia!

      • Thanks so much for your encouragement Mercedes.

  • Brooke B

    Hi Mercedes, love, love, love, all of those properties. They are all so different, but united with their professionalism. Thanks for sharing those with us. I have a vacation rental too, we have our own website, logo, business cards and we listed on Airbnb, Stayz, Tripadvisor & instagram, Facebook. Our luxe accommodation is called – ‘Cooks Hill Parkside’, in Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Newcastle is a beach side city 2 hours north of Sydney. Which I’m sure you are familiar with.
    I would love for you to check it out & provide feedback / suggestions. plus @cookshillparkside

    • Hi Brooke,
      Wow! I love what you have done. Your simple and elegant furnishings, combined with the chic website (love “This is your backyard, bring the sunscreen!”) and obvious great customer support all lead to a professional presence. I’m going to share your properties on our social media pages so other owners can learn from you. Thank you so much for sharing!

      • Brooke B

        Hi Mercedes, thanks for the feedback, so grateful. Really you will share my page? That is sensational, I think it is important to learn from each other. Thanks for the opportunity and please keep in touch. Brooke.

  • Josiane Wileman

    Hi Mercedes. What a lot of food for thought you give us there. Thank you for the inspiration you instill in your comments! We have a 18th century manor house in South West France which has been awarded 5 star rating by the French Ministry of Tourism. Our website
    has booking facility, but our branding is not reinforced by a logo. I would love to have your opinion on how we come across !!! We are always trying to improve!

    • Wow! I love it, Josiane! You have done a fabulous job in nearly every department of branding! The only thing you need is a logo and you will be a perfect 10! Everyone, please check out Manoir Les Gaillardoux!

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  • Michael

    Hi Mercedes, love point #4 you make here about great media exposure….something I am working on right now….any suggestions or ideas for a PR visit?…by the way love the booking magnet “hammocks” – our newest restored and renovated bungalow has a breezeway with a couple… “Avalon Beach Bungalow”

    • Hi Michael! How are you? Your logo is awesome! And your bungalows are wonderful as well. My suggestion for PR: go to some local magazines and let them know what you are doing. You would be surprised at how successful this approach can be. Another great idea is to buy some well-known brands (pillows are always great low cost items) and feature those products in your Instagram feed. Then you tag the vendor. This approach has worked wonders for some of my subscribers. Read this post for the details on how to do it. Good luck and check back as you go. We can always give you some feedback. You can write directly to us as well.

  • I wish I were a graphic designer as well, Josiane, but unfortunately, I’m not. Do you have a graphic designer friend with whom you can consult? That is the wisest choice. Good luck and be sure to share when you have your logo!

    • Josiane Wileman

      Hi Mercedes. Yes, we do have a graphic designer in the team. Back to you when we have something to show…promised! I wish you a lovely day.

  • Hi Edit and Dado, I’m thrilled you like the blog and are finding it helpful! That is the reason the blog exists. If you ever have requests for topics you are struggling with, please reach out directly and we’ll put it in the editorial calendar.




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